The Simples Love a Picnic

The Simples Love a Picnic

The Simples Love a Picnic


The Simples want to go out and have a simple little picnic, but things become horribly complicated: The dog chases after a squirrel, the cat reveals its hiding spot in Lulu’s backpack, there are too many ants and birds, and one food item send the whole park into a tizzy! What will the Simples do?

From the artist and author J. C. Phillipps comes this hilarious little picture book with a big heart to remind us that picnics are just a little about food and a lot about family.

I bet your bottom dollar that if read correctly The Simples Love a Picnic by J.C. Phillipps could be one of those books a classroom of first graders fight to the death to check out from the library. The lie is in its very name: “Simple”. As a quick perusal shows, what Phillipps is able to accomplish here is anything but simplistic. After all, writing funny books is no easy task, yet The Simples Love a Picnic blows that notion right out of the water. Highly hilarious stuff.
-Elizabeth Bird, Fuse 8

A funny family story packed with mayhem and good spirits. - Kirkus

MONKEY ONO is available at AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, POWELL’S, or at a bookseller near you. This title is also available for your Kindle.

World Read Aloud Day

I'm Skyping with Kindergartners for World Read Aloud Day!

I’m Skyping with Kindergartners for World Read Aloud Day!

It’s World Read Aloud Day! Yay! I celebrated by speaking with 60 lovely and well-behaved Kindergartners, reading Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Nap, making a horse collage, and seeing some fabulous student art. That’s my kind of party!

Realisitc Watercolor Style

Winnie sees what she wants: an award.

Winnie sees what she wants: an award.

Winnie imagines her bliss after winning a special award.

Winnie imagines her bliss after winning a special award.

These two illustrations were made for my current work-in-progress. I don’t normally go super realistic, but after discussing the project with my agent, he thought the previous illustrations (unseen) were too stylized. Now we’ve heard from someone else that these may be too realistic, so I’m off to find a happy medium. Still, I kinda love them. Creating samples like these take a lot of work, so it can be frustrating not to use them, but every piece of art I make brings me closer to the characters. It’s all good.

Skyp-ish Author Visit Part 1: Reading Wink

Hi.  I’ve been doing Skype Author visits for about a year now.  But recently, I had some internet problems and I got freaked out that I would lose service in the middle of a Skype visit.  So I had the idea to make a couple videos of what a Skype visit with me is like.  That way, if I’m having technical issues, you can pull up these videos and it’s almost as good as having me there live.

This is Part 1, where I read my book, Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed.  When you are done, if you’d like to continue the Skyp-ish visit, please scroll down to Part 2: Collage Demonstration.  If you’d like to book a free 30-minute Skype Author Visit with me, please go to my Contact Page and send me an email.  Thanks!  Enjoy!


Skyp-ish Author Visit Part 2: Collage Demonstration

Here’s the second part of my Skyp-ish Author Visit – the demo.  If you want to work along with me, you’ll need: pencil, scissors, glue, black marker, large sheet of background paper, large sheet of black, small sheet of flesh tone paper, smaller piece of white, and I do some bamboo – so you’ll need some shade of green for leaves and some paper that looks bamboo-ish, or brown.


Ninja Brownies

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hanging with a lovely troop of Brownies.  I was a Brownie.  I wore the brown sash.  I sold the cookies.  The whole she-bang.

These lovely ladies had a ton of enthusiasm and we did something new: a ninja read-along.  Enough of them had bought their own books, so when one asked if she could read along with me, I said, “Sure!”







After reading, I talked about the process of making the book – ever so briefly. Then we made our own collage ninja. I was particularly charmed by this Ninja Cat. I think there’s a book there!


BIG THANKS to the Brownies for having me in. I had a great time with you all!

Jenko R.I.P.



I had a project going about an indoor cat who escapes outside and gets killed several times before learning the ways of the wild and making it back home.  Even while making it, I wondered if it was marketable.  After showing the project to an editor and getting some valid reasons why it would be a hard sell, my agent and I decided not to pursue this one.  But I really enjoyed how the art was turning out. At least I get to show it off here.




For these illustrations, I painted separate watercolor pieces and scanned them into the computer.  Then I put the compositions together collage-style.  I wanted to work digital on this one so I could play with the opacity on the ghosts.  I love the orange/turquoise color schemes in the night scenes.

Posted in Art

Forty-Six Skype Visits

Scenes from my Skype Author Visits

Scenes from my Skype Author Visits


In March, I signed up with Skype in the Classroom to do 30-minute Skype Author Visits.  It’s a virtual world, people, and this is the way things are moving.  Part of me loves this, because I really don’t like to travel very much.  But there is something very nice about going into a school, meeting children and teachers, and working with the kids.  Plus – when I go to a school they buy books and I get paid.  That’s always nice.  Skype visits are free.  Well, as of right now they are free.  If and when I ever become a big wig, I can charge.  Mwah-ha-ha, money, money, money.  But until that time, I’m fine with free.

Another bonus is that teachers send me these great shots of my big face on a giant screen looking silly, and shots of the fabulous collage creations the kids make after they speak with me (and sometimes before.)  I love that!

After 46 visits in 3 months, I have learned a few things about doing Skype Visits.  If you’re an author or illustrator or something who wants to know more about Skyping, check out my blog post.

Thanks for dropping in.  Enjoy the site!




Before and During at Duffy School


I love a nice, neat table set up with all the supplies needed to make art.  Look how clean and orderly …. ahhhhh.

Then I love the beautiful chaos that is created when the children come and draw, cut, and glue – making a magnificent mess of the best kind.  And art.  They’re making art, too.

I just completed a lovely 2-day visit at the Louise Duffy School and had lots of fun working with the Kindergarteners and First Graders on Illustration and The Simples Love a Picnic on Day 1.  Day 2 was all about Wink and ninjas with the Second Graders.  We made Dreaming Ninja collages and the kids drew whatever dream their ninja was having.  This artist ninja is just TOO CUTE!

BIG THANKS to Jill Dailey, the superb media specialist who has had me in time and again, and everyone at Duffy School!  It feels like a second home to me!  Go Duffy!